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Interesting discussion http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4148101-discussion--the-death-of-the-album
been even longer since someone asked IS THIS NEWS?
In this buzzfeed-dominated world, the written article is killing news.
I like albums, but I think I'd like more frequent shorter albums . Instead of 12 or 13 tracks every 3 years, 5 tracks every year.
I mostly listen to albums and I don't think they're going anywhere soon, but I do think the format's devout followers could stand to shut the fuck up for a bit. They all act like they only listen to only carefully sequenced Prog Rock Operas when the truth of the matter is that a good portion of their favorite albums consist largely of tracks the artist had written around the same time and with little grand scheme in mind when they started recording.
Singles have always been a huge presence in the record industry, so I'm not sure why people treat its popularity like it's something new. Playlists? Basically the same as listening to the radio, but with the option of skipping the dull stuff.
Not sure this thread title reflects the content of it so much (but I like the DiS meta joke).
I do think with gaming, TV, music and everything in this multi-tasking, digital world everything feels very transitional these days and about getting you excited for the next wave of new shit whilst moving on from what you just enjoyed within 30 seconds. I got to saturation point a few years ago and felt like threads on the boards were regularly seeing people boasting about how they were getting through 50 albums a month on Soundcloud and Spotify.
Personally I'd rather just target 30 odd albums a year and give them all a proper go. Maybe I'm a dying breed, but an endless amount of choice for me is torturous; give me a few choice things to enjoy rather than a sea of endless and directionless opportunity. Hence why the album for me is as relevant as ever.
However playlists, radio stations, singles, demos etc still continue to excite me as much as ever and get me into acts. I see them as vital teasers for the real deal.
People listen to albums as much as they ever have - they now mostly just torrent them. Playlists are not the future, thats just talk from a buch of scared label execs.
But in terms of the value of albums when most are, as feedthecollapse says, collections of songs recorded around the same time, I still feel they provide a more satisfying 45 minute listen than a playlist. I wonder if any other DiSsers are like me; a playlist should provide more variety than album performed by the same artist throughout...but they can often sound beige with little differences between many songs. By contrast, a good album has subtle changes throughout but maintains a consistent mood or theme, allowing the listener to invest more in the experience, and subsequently be more receptive to the variety and invention in the songs. I think, anyway...
Still not dead.
The Melody by Mae Shi came up on shuffle yesterday, and I was thinking, this is only average in isolation, but in the context of the masterpiece which is HLLLYH, this is a fucking great song*.
*Also didn't read the article.
No one's taking albums away. No one.
I'm watching you sean
he just has an (unpaid) intern who posts seanesque things sometimes
all the best music is part of wider 'art and culture'. To say that all albums will die out because casual audiences can't be bothered with them anymore is like saying that all films will die out cos everyone would rather watch 45 minute episodes of 'box set dramas' on Netflix.
There will always be a long form way of listening to non-commercial music. I'm not saying that the album will be that, as it's certainly a flawed format, but the choice isn't between either albums or single tracks. There are probably loads more interesting ways in which non-commercial music can be articulated, which in my opinion would be a much more interesting discussion than the same tired old stuff about Radio 1 pop acts and how mid 70s rock bands had the right idea etc.
I'm an algorithm.
Radio 1 might though, I mean why be dictated what you listen to by a bunch of babbling zany media hungry loudmouths.
Found myself nodding with sadpunk's musing about 'shorter and more often' and this may be the core of the issue, if there is an issue at all.
Thinking about it I'd say the Compact Disc stretched bands creativity and the technology implied the need for longer albums. For example Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic being the length that it is, emerging at the time it did (1991) This mirrors the decline of vinyl and the dominance of the compact disc era, this was driven by record companies re-selling albums to the public with 'superior' quality, indestructible even! A LOT of albums then started being well over an hour rather than, you know, like less than 45 minutes, (there was a reason C90 tapes were created / so popular, album on each side?).
The album is like a badge of identity for a band at a certain time and much more. You get a feel for an album. Peaks and troughs. For example Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction is a remarkable debut made by a group of musicians who had a bond more like a fuelled gang. It is unsaid but you can feel the need that they had to make that statement / album. You could say the same for many other albums such as the 1st Ramones album and the 1st Cypress Hill album, etc, etc.
Arguably the blueprint for an album was underlined by The Beatles. Many bands attempt to, subconsciously or not, follow that format / standard (gradually getting more experimental, having a White Album / Black Album / Green Album whatever). The key here is that The Beatles knocked out albums with such speed as an album around 35 minutes was totally acceptable. Bands should do this more these days too, of course this is driven by circumstance too but bands / artists respond to competition and trends.
Only yesterday I was reading The Stranglers discography of albums on wikipedia. They had an impressive run of albums up to their 10th album despite little real (huge) success. Each album reflects them at the time of release and again the albums follow each other quickly. I'm really not sure why active artists take so long between albums nowadays but the format will be around for a long time I'm sure.
I've enjoyed making up my own playlists for years on formats from cassettes, minidisc, iTunes and now Spotify. It's nothing really new and people will always like to make up their own compilations as it is simply a satisfying thing to do. There have been many great playlists made on this site that have introduced me to a whole range of new sounds.
However, the album has always been the most effective way for me to appreciate an artists' work, whether it's a 2 hr epic like To Be Kind or a 20 minute blast like Say Yes To Love, it's a good way for an artist to showcase a selection of work in a moment of time. Sure, maybe in a few decades time they might become a dead format, but I can't see them going anywhere right now.
It should also be noted that album sales in the 90s were huge due to backcatalogue being reissued on a new format. It also helped that the majors were nixing the CD single in the mid-90s; so of course singles took off: they had nowhere else to go but up after being neglected for so long.
I've never listened to my ipod or itunes on shuffle, i spend lots of money on albums in MP3, CD and Vinyl form and LOVE discovering bands music outside of singles. Half my favourite recent artists i couldnt even tell you what tracks are the singles!
As for Radio 1, I used to have to listen to it for hours at work and I could go days before I heard a single song I actually liked or knew from recent releases and my tastes aren't exactly super obscure. Fuck that guy.
I'm all for bands releasing EPs or shorter, more concise albums but fuck playlists as being the sole means of listening to music, that's not for me AT ALL.
i had to delete all the album tracks from my itunes and then put the remaining singles in a long playlist.
god this is really tapping into my anxiety, eugh
seems to have one foot purely in the commercial / 'shares' statistics and the other in that same data speculatively adjusted to account for the economic implications of an independent Scotland
he seems to have no real interest in music in an artistic / cultural sense so why take his views on that subject so seriously?
Especially given that they're not that informed, and not taking into account just how pluralistic the entirety of music has become with the advent of Internet teckers. If anything's going to limit the album, it's the fact that there are so many more ways for artists to release the music they want to release.
anyone with a singular strong view on how music is s'posed to be listened to is obviously wrong.
The industry isn't exactly bulletproof though, would be nice if more people embraced the idea of it taking a shoeing though.
labels are pushing singles now because there are so many out there and mainstream radio play is make or break
radio only seem to be interested in plugging shit bands (why are so many playlisted on radio 1 nowadays) or waiting around for the next crossover hit (at least mainstream radio is - hideaway, my love, ready for your love, white noise, i got u - i feel like this has been happening since that rudimental one... feel the love? and the rita ora/dj fresh one)
'big' artists albums don't get proper, mass promo anymore and smaller artists can't afford to go on long tours anymore.
consumers taking streaming for granted and not buying actual albums
of course there are exceptions - beyoncé's long-awaited album being dropped without warning (although i don't think sales were a slow burn, the novelty of having a video for every song - and then some -helped), adele outselling just about anyone ever of the last ten years, anyone who releases an album around christmas (1d?)
also independent and self-release albums having a stronger focus on 'the package' - above-par artwork, special edition lps, bonus tracks, t-shirt/poster bundles, pre-order freebies.
the buzzfeed and short attention span era should be killed instead. maybe you don't have to have everything, all of it, right away. I was so intent on getting my hands on anything reported on by the media and now 75% of it is boxed up in the basement. Death of music? Nah, just quicker info on all the shit that exists. Rather than using "the album" as a concept, try getting real albums.
Just seems a total non-argument to me. How could anything kill music? How could "the album" die? Anyone can make music or an album at any time with almost any level of resources so how could it "die" or how could anything "kill" it?